Sicilian Harvest Salad
With the addition of a grilled chicken breast, this unusual appetizer salad would be a great main course. The fruit on its own makes a wonderful[ little "chutney" to serve alongside a piece of grilled chicken or swordfish or to scatter across the top of focaccia before baking. The dried fruit adds richness, so don't leave it out. In the autumn and winter you can use figs, apples, pears, or persimmons in place of the grapes, while in summer you can use plums, apricots and peaches.]
- 1/2 cup raisins
- Boiling water
- 1 cup halved large seedless grapes
- 1 tablespoon diced dried apricots (1/4-inch dice)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fried rosemary, recipe follows
- 1/4 large red onion, cut into small slivers
- 1 large lemon, juiced
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large head radicchio, about 3/4 pound
- 2 cups loosely packed baby spinach
- 12 thin slices prosciutto or 1/4 pound sausage, grilled and cubed, optional
- 1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
- Fried Rosemary:
- Rosemary sprigs
- Oil, for frying
Put the raisins in a small bowl and pour boiling water over them to cover. Let stand until plump and soft, about 10 minutes. Drain.
Separate the radicchio into leaves, saving the heart for another use. Tear into bite size pieces and add to the dried fruit mixture along with the spinach. Toss well. Divide among 4 plates and top with the prosciutto, if using. Scatter the pine nuts over the top.Fried Rosemary:
Frying rosemary on the branch removes its slightly soapy, bitter flavor so you can use more. Heat 1-inch oil in a deep saute pan to 350 degrees F. Deep-fry the rosemary for 30 seconds and drain on paper towels. Strip the leaves off the stems and crush the leaves in the paper towels to remove any excess oil. Mince and store in a clean, tightly sealed container. Use the fried rosemary to make a seasoned salt by adding it to a mixture of black pepper, dried lemon zest and salt.
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